Category: Practical Spirituality

Symbols of Spirituality: Pool Game

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Th_pool%20break-pfLife is like a pool game. We can choose whether we want to have a positive experience or a more challenging one.

But remember, every choice bumps against other energies and sets other events into motion.

Everything we do has a result (also known as a consequence—the next thing in a sequence.)

 

Colombo Fashion Week, Interrupted

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Feb 21st, 2009

Last night, I was the compere/announcer for Colombo Fashion Week and thankfully, my hubby, was there too. There was a blackout, so I made a mic-free announcement for everyone to stay calm and stay in their seats. I had no idea it was a response to an air raid.

As you may know, the LTTE, also known as Tamil Tigers, smuggled in pieces of small, light aircraft and then built a small air force of a handful of 2-seater planes.

The lights came back on and I continued, as directed, to get on with the show, blissfully unaware of any threat. I even kept on reading my script when I heard what sounded like people banging on the wall behind me, sticking tight to my "show must go on" sensibilities. At the sight of tracer bullets, I knew that sound was something far more serious.
 
Then the director told me to announce the show would continue tomorrow and tell everyone to calmly move away from the huge plate glass windows that formed the entire West wall of the penthouse ballroom. No one even knew where the emergency exits were, so they all rushed to the elevators, which of course weren't working.

My husband, who knew ahead of time what was happening and had been hovering nearby, very calmly told me it was time to go, and when I said "I have to get my stuff" he explained to me, still calmly, "you need to get away from the windows, because they could fire through them. Get only what you need and come this way." I did and he grabbed my hand and held it tightly as we moved through the crowd to find our friends. He never let go of me until we were safe.

I realized I had left my cell phone, so when it was quiet, we went back to the sound stage-booth-thing and he helped me gather everything else. The emergency exits were dangerously close to the plate glass windows that formed the entire South wall of the ballroom, and also overlooked the Army Base, so he wanted to wait until things quieted down before we took the stairs. We sat waiting in a secure corner.

I had brought a flashlight because they hadn't provided me with any light the night before, and it was odd to read a script by the light of the DJ's laptop. And thank God! I grabbed it and we made our way down the unlit 8 – 10 flights of stairs that may have never been swept, amidst kicked off ladies footwear, with my friend's Dad in tow. He was on his cell phone trying to get through to the rest of his family, but was only receiving calls from his driver who was on vacation in another part of the island, asking if they were all okay.

We found our friends in a covered parking area, and then we began to relax and make jokes. Once we were down among our friends, the info started coming on cell phones. I don't know if you've seen it in the news by now, but the crash I heard was a small plane crashing into our IRS building, which is next to an Air Force Base, less than half a mile away. The anti-aircraft fire was happening all around us, and it seems it actually hit the aircraft, forcing it to crash before reaching its target. You can imagine the gleeful jokes about the destroyed IRS files.

The hotel made an announcement that were given the all clear to turn on the lights and air conditioning, but that we couldn't leave the grounds yet. They played music, served food and drinks, and we all relaxed into the return to normalcy. Our international designer guests from Dubai, Bangladesh, and Pakistan were all unshaken. When they announced that it was safe to leave, a group of white boys– a sports team from England or Australia–were all packed and waiting for a taxi in the lobby. They seemed amazed that the rest of us were all back to business as usual. It's just what I heard the head of British Council saying on the phone to someone "Sri Lankans are incredibly resilient".

I was thinking about the little decisions I made when getting ready that afternoon. I was already constantly invoking Divine Order, because I was nervous, so the fact that I made these decisions shows me I was aligned well. Things like: to remember to take a flashlight, to wear a comfortable pair of shoes and pants instead of a dress or skirt, to not take my laptop, to bring a granola bar or two because the intermission snack trays never made it our way the night before.

I was very grateful for all of those things in the midst of it all. And I was so happy with my choice of hubby. He took care of me, and then helped our friend’s dad make sure his family weren't still up there before we had him come down with us. Once we were downstairs safely, he located all of our friends and kept them in sight.
 
As far as I know, only one person died in the attacks, and the 2 planes were shot down. They missed their targets and caused only a bit of ruckus. Inside the hotel, I didn't see any pushing or hysterics, and the hotel staff were on top of it. The war seems to be almost over, and this was a desperate, last ditch effort to terrorize. I don't feel particularly terrorized actually. I just remembered that while I still had the mic, and it was on, I told everyone to stay calm and hold thoughts of peace in their minds. I'm actually pretty proud of myself for that, now that I remember it!

So there you have it.
🙂

Why “Symbolic Themes”?

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A friend of mine once asked me “Why Symbolic Themes?”

I told him that it’s how my mind works. I see thematic patterns in the symbols around me, and I use it to guide me through life. But I’ve just found further justification for my choice of blog names in a book called “Man and His Symbols” edited by eminent psychologist, Carl Jung.

It’s a book that explains Jung’s philosophy in laypeople’s terms so that non-academics can play along at home. Basically, Jung believed that our subconscious communicates with us in the language of symbols and archetypes that have appealed to people throughout history. He also believed that by paying attention to our dreams, and our responses to the symbols we encounter around us, we can interpret the intuitive guidance we have within us.

Here’s the quote that made me think I was on the right track with the name for this blog that I had already chosen, years ago:

“…the great writers are able to transcend the differences of time and place and express themes that are universal. We respond because these themes are fundamentally symbolic.”

I love to talk about those universal similarities that transcend time and place! (And I aspire to be a great writer someday too). All great artists transcend time and place when their work touches something in their audience that resonates within them.

What led me to read "Man and His Symbols" was a quest to find where my work and chosen area of study fits in the world. I found some Masters Degree courses in Transpersonal Psychology, and though I can't take them the way I want to right now, I found that Jung is at the bottom of it all. So I decided to educate myself. Many of his ideas are already so familiar to me, but I learned them from people who built upon his work, like Joseph Campbell and Carolyn Myss

Here’s the description from the back of MY book, Echoes Across Time:

Backofbook

“Mara is a woman on a mission… to follow the unraveling trail of meaning behind her symbolic dreams while trying to save her best friend from self-destruction.

Part spiritual adventure, part feminist fairy tale, this modern-day myth takes you through a mystical series of events from America to India, and on to Sri Lanka spanning four generations.

Along the way it offers metaphorical explanations for simple mysteries of our lives that make up our identities. From seemingly inexplicable friendships to exotic mixed ancestry, Mara finds the purpose behind it all. Ultimately the tale offers insight into how each of our souls has at least one connection that echoes across time.”

So though I chose the name Symbolic Themes for my work years ago, and wrote a book based on the things that fascinate me, I’m feeling pretty good about myself because without really knowing it, I have fallen very nicely within the framework of Jungian thinking! I may even be channeling Carl Gustav Jung himself! 

The Words of Inauguration Day – Benediction

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Dr. Joseph E Lawry’s Benediction

 

God of our weary years

God of our silent tears

God who has brought us thus far along the way

Thou who has by thy might led us into the light

Keep us forever in the path, we pray.

Lest our feet stray from the places, oh God, where we met thee.

Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee.

Shadowed beneath thy hand, may we forever stand.

True to thee, oh God, and true to our native land.

We truly give thanks for the glorious experience we’ve shared this day.

We pray now, oh Lord, for your blessing upon thy servant,

Barack Obama the 44th President, of these United States, his family, and his administration.

He has come to this high office in a low moment

in the national and indeed the global fiscal climate.

But because we know you ‘got the whole world in your hands’,

We pray for not only our nation but for the community of nations.

 

Our faith does not shrink, though pressed by the flood of mortal ills,

For we know that Lord you’re able, and willing

to work through faithful leadership to restore stability,

mend our brokenness, heal our wounds,

and deliver us from the exploitation of the poor, (or the least of these),

And from favoritism toward the rich, (the elite of these).

We thank you for the empowering of thy servant, our 44th President,

to inspire our nation to believe that Yes We Can work together

to achieve a more perfect union.

And while we have sown the seeds of greed, (the wind of greed) and corruption,

and even as we reap the whirlwind of social and economic disruption,

we seek forgiveness, and we come to spirit of unity and solidarity to commit

our support to our president

by our willingness to make sacrifices,

we respect your creation to turn to each other and not on each other.

 

And now Lord, in the complex arena of human relations,

help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate,

On the side of inclusion, not exclusion

Tolerance, not intolerance.

And as we leave this mountaintop, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family.

Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosque, wherever we seek your will.

Bless President Barack, first lady Michele, look over our little angelic Sasha and Malia.

 

We go now to walk together, children,

Pledging that we won’t get weary in the difficulties ahead.

We know you will not leave us alone, with your hands of power, and your heart of love.

 

Help us then now Lord to work for that day

when nations shall not lift sword against nation,

When tanks get beaten into tractors,

When every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree

and none shall be afraid

When justice will roll down like water and righteousness as a mighty stream.

Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labor rest

Joy of a new beginning,

we ask you to help us work for that day when:

Black will not be asked to get back

When brown can stick around

When yellow will be mellow

When the red man can get ahead, man

And white will embrace what is right

Will all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen, say Amen, and Amen.

Economy and Environment Conspire to Change Us for the Better

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It seems to me that the environment and the economy are conspiring to force us to change…for the better.

One man from Hong Kong told me the air has been so clear lately…because so many factories have closed down in China.

An ethnography professor studying the effects of You Tube on society (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPAO-lZ4_hU) says that people are reaching out for connection and community, but that we’ve all become such individuals, it is increasingly difficult to find.

The environment has been encouraging us to grow our own vegetables, ride our bicycles, use solar power, and recycle. And the economy may be forcing us to do this by sharing expenses and resources by moving in with family members or friends.

Our choice of Barack Obama as our new president shows that we as a nation (and as a global village, if all the Obama parties thrown in Sri Lanka are any indication) feel the old ways no longer serve us and we’re ready to step together into a new era.

As humans, we generally resist change. We don’t love it. It scares us. We like routine…at least until it bores us. But we can learn from the popularity of “What the Bleep” and “The Secret” that we affect our reality, and the world around us, with our thoughts and our choices. So let’s not move forward with fear, but with the excitement of someone about to embark upon an exciting journey.

Let’s see the economic shift as a way to bring us together, and to be creative about finding more meaningful, connected and sustainable ways of accomplishing our goals.

Let’s see the environment as a beloved part of us that we must learn to nurture and appreciate again, like our own inner child.

Let’s make “Follow Your Bliss”– Joseph Campbell’s advice after years of studying the world’s religions and mythologies—the basis for our choices. And where our bliss truly comes from may be overlooked sources such as an abundance of time, connections with people, and a return to the earth and environment (whether that means going to the park or the beach, starting a garden, or camping in a foreign landscape).

Another thing we can do as we move into this new phase is to really consider the cliche “making the world a better place” with our every move. We can buy products that were made ethically, and environmentally, that support indigenous communities or give a portion to charity. We can take volunteer vacations that help improve others’ horizons while expanding our own.

As the New Year approaches, perhaps we can make our resolutions about taking less and giving more, appreciating all that we’ve got and all that we can share, and making conscious choices that support our ideals, thereby creating a 2009 that we can all be proud of.

May your new year be one of abundance, joy and pure bliss!

The DailyOM Book’s 1st page is by me!

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Dailyombook200 As a contributor to DailyOM, they've used several of my articles in the book! But the very first page is one I've written, which I take as a very high compliment.  Here's it is, and if you like it, be sure to order the book.

Linking Center
Checking In With Your Heart

Every day we experience a magical twilight between our dreams and waking state. During this brief period of time, our minds still remember that all things are possible. We can smoothly transition into our physical world without losing a sense of hope when we check in with our heart center first, before we even get out of bed. Our heart center is the link between body and spirit, instinct and inspiration. It doesn't take long to hold a thought of loving gratitude for the heart that beats within us. In a mere moment we can review all that we want to accomplish in the light of love. When we get into the habit of beginning our day from the heart, all of our activities glow with the infusion of conscious intent and all interactions are done with compassion.

We can restart our day right now by imagining how love and inspiration feel. As light glows from our heart center, radiating out through our bodies into the space around us, any feelings of stress or frustration seem to melt away. Now, we see each person we encounter as fellow travelers in the journey of life, and every activity becomes part of a spiritual partnership. As conscious participants in the cycle of giving and receiving, we share our light with others as we become enlivened ourselves, with our heart leading the way.

In the intersection where our body and soul meet, our physical heart beats in time with the rhythm of the universe. It does the physical work of supplying our body with life force without our attention, but for its spiritual work, we need to be conscious. When we concentrate on its rhythm and glowing light, we remember that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. Then we know that we can choose any time to check in with our heart center, and in doing so, experience the joy of being in love with life.

written by Malayna Dawn for DailyOM.com – see it at http://www.dailyom.com/articles/2006/4955.html 

You can get more info about The Daily OM Book by clicking the link in the left column.

Time for Global Unity

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11days-bg_headerMy church, Unity church, has joined with an organization called "We, The World" to promote 11 Days of Global Unity. 

It started on a day the world really needs prayers,  September 11th, which is also Unity's World Day of Prayer and goes unti September 21st, The UN's International Day of Peace.

Unity's site is 11daysofUnity.org, or you can visit We The World's site explaining the history of the event. But here are the basics:

Creating a Culture of Peace
Celebrating a Sustainable Future
 
11 Days of Global Unity Sept. 11-21 is an annual promotion of peace, justice and environmental stewardship that communities and organizations take part in around the world. It culminates on September 21st, the U.N. International Day of Peace.
 
Did you know that September 11th is also the anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi's first nonviolent peace action? Me neither!

The organization's launch in 2004 included the signing of The Declaration of Interdependence, which includes the following pledge that you can sign too!

 
We, the people of planet Earth,

In recognition of the interconnectedness of all life and the importance of the balance of nature,

Hereby acknowledge our interdependence

And affirm our dedication to

~life-serving environmental stewardship,

~the fulfillment of universal human needs worldwide,

~economic and social well-being,

~and a culture of peace and nonviolence,

To insure a sustainable and harmonious world

For present and future generations.

 

You can join Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Deepak Chopra, Jane Goodall & ME by

signing the declaration. Just send an e-mail to declaration@wetheworld.org and include your city & country and a message. It'll be posted on their guestbook.

Dancing With the Universe! Celebrate life!

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You thought “Dancing with the Stars” was fun–this video has simultaneoulsy made me laugh, cry and restored my faith in humanity! 


If you haven’t already gotten my e-mail, or responded to my Facebook posts, here’s my review:


“Inspiring, Joyous Silliness!  A MUST SEE!


How could a guy doing a silly dance bring me to tears? When he invited others, all around the world to join him, and put it to music with words from a Tagore poem. It is beautiful in its simplicity and light-heartedness….”


The images alone are heartwarming, but then this post from Minnesota fills in any blanks. 


The song playing in the background is sung in another language, but somehow the meaning comes through:


Stream of Life
by Rabindranath Tagore

The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day
runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures.

It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth
in numberless blades of grass
and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.

It is the same life that is rocked in the ocean-cradle of birth
and of death, in ebb and in flow.

I feel my limbs are made glorious by the touch of this world of life.
And my pride is from the life-throb of ages dancing in my blood this moment.

This response to the same Minnesota Post article helped explain why it made me cry (and some of my friends!)


(1)


There is a book by historian Barbara Ehrenreich called “Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy” that may explain, at least in part, why we are so moved by this video.


We’re hardwired, deep in our reptilian brain, so respond positively to collective dancing. It helps us understand why grown men ( and women) weep when they see Matt’s work.


For more info on Matt and his escapades, or to see the video if YouTube or the Minnesota Post are acting up, go to www.wherethehellismatt.com.  


Many thanks to my friend Jayantha (in Melbourne, Australia) for sending me this link!

Here’s a fun game…

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At least I think it's fun.  If you go to Amazon.com and do a search for "Malayna", you'll get this:

Amazon-me

(You can click on the image to see it more clearly…)

Although I have nothing to do with the boots, I am happy that my book comes first, and that I'm part of the DailyOM book!

Of course they thanked me with my long, complicated name rather than my short and simple name, but it's still me.

AND the very first article in the book is MINE!  Yay! There are several more of my articles throughout, and maybe one day I'll tell you which pages. Until then, you'll have to guess.